Cardinal McCarrick is a molester


Innocence? I believe McCarrick is lying, and that he knows he is lying.

I have been waiting for this story to break since 2002.

Back then, I received a tip from a priest who had gone on his own dime to Rome, along with a group of prominent US Catholic laymen, to meet with an official for the Roman Curial congregation that names bishops.

It had been rumored at the time that Theodore McCarrick, the Archbishop of Newark, was going to be moved to Washington, DC, and to be made a cardinal.

This group traveled to Rome to warn the Vatican that McCarrick was a sexual harrasser of seminarians.

The story this priest shared with me was that McCarrick had a habit of compelling seminarians to share his bed for cuddling.

These allegations did not involve sexual molestation, but were clearly about unwanted sexual harassment.

To refuse the archbishop’s bedtime entreaties would be to risk your future as a priest, I was told.

Rome was informed by these laymen — whose number included professionally distinguished Catholics in a position to understand the kind of harm this would cause –that McCarrick was sexually exploiting these seminarians, but it did no good. McCarrick received his appointment to the Washington archdiocese in 2000.

In early 2002, though, the priest who tipped me off wouldn’t go on the record.

It would have meant the end of his priesthood, quite possibly.

He gave me the name of a couple of medical figures who had been on the same journey.

I called one, who confirmed it, but wouldn’t go on the record.

I called the other, who gasped when I said it out loud, and who said, “If that were true, then I wouldn’t confirm it for the same reason Noah’s sons covered their father in his drunkenness.”

That’s where the investigation stood after a couple of days.

For all I knew, these were only allegations.

Then a personal friend of McCarrick’s — a closeted gay man, someone whose name you would know — contacted the news organization for which I was working on this story.

The caller did so on McCarrick’s behalf, trying to get me pulled off the story.

I won’t go into details, but the man who made the call conceded that McCarrick was guilty, but insisted that no laws had been broken, and therefore it wasn’t a big deal.

My supervisor on the story, to his great credit, simply said to keep digging, but to keep him informed.

How did McCarrick find out?

It turned out that the priest who tipped me off had only told his spiritual adviser, a well-known conservative cleric, who had almost certainly called McCarrick.

My informant — remember, this was early 2002 — was still under the naive impression that you could tell the good guys from the bad guys in the Catholic scandal based on where they lined up theologically.

Not true! Continue reading

  • Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate.
  • Image: Pulpit and Pen
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